Tuesday, January 29, 2008

As you well know, goslings, I'm not much of a romantic. I'm a fighter not a lover.

I could say that my ill-starred relationships with arrogant foreigners have made me defensive, argumentative and wary. I could say that the violent examples of my friends' and family members' married lives have predjuiced me against matrimony entirely. Or I could merely state that I am a confirmed bachelor, content to pursue my Interests, including by not limited to: playing the ukulele, watching all the films made before 1970, wearing the most outré of vintage novelty prints, studying Butoh dance, penning doggerel, producing off-off-off Broadway theatricals, going to the opera, and most importantly, the pleasures of the bottle (because sometimes I can't be bothered to wash a glass).

Now and then, I have a wistful moment where I wonder if that's enough to Make A Life. But then I have to run off to rehearsal where I find myself dancing the role of a fetus (or an ocelot) and I get into it, you know, and before long it's midnight and I'm putting on cold cream and setting my alarm. And I think: It's not bad, this life, not bad at all.

But despite having devoted myself body and soul to my all-consuming (and completely unremunerative) Interests, I am now and again faced with an ardent young man intent upon making an honest woman of me.

Long ago I thought that, like my mother, I would marry, and marry often. But somewhere along the way, I began to find my own company compelling. And now I find myself spitting distance from 40, and still very caught up in, um, whatever it is that I'm doing. I rather enjoy eating alone. I like that there is no one to comment upon the fact that I've got 4 pairs of furry boots, I haven't paid the phone bill and that Pringles are not a good breakfast choice. I am content to wander museums and galleries toute seule comme une grande. See movies that no one else is interested in. If I am lonely, I usually think of something to make myself laugh.

Insensitive souls ask me if I want children. At my age, one would be the best I could do, but how I would take care of an infant and continue to pay rent is beyond me. Alas, an infant couldn't be left on the sofa during the day with some take-out menus and the remote while I work in the thrilling pink collar ghetto. And then there's college. N.Y.Jew, my dear alma mater, is now $47,000 a year. I still haven't finished paying for my own (useless) education.

There are times when I feel under-accomplished, to put it mildly. But that's just showbiz, kid. And so I strive to live for process and not product. And it's enough for me, most of the time. But it sure can be hard to explain to someone else. Especially someone else who has real world markers of success, at least the Darwinian kind, looking up at you in an expensive stroller. And then there are the men. These kind, optimistic men who for some strange reason want to yoke themselves to a complicated half-Jewess. These handsome foreigners, confident in their good looks and ability to work hard who want to saddle me with offspring. They want me to obsess over school districts, attachment theory and organic snacks while they work Jobs of Importance.

What is love anyway? And why does it usually demand a woman sacrifices herself on its pyre? Or at least clean up after everyone else? What's a woman to do if she just wants peace and quiet? The life of the mind? The time and space to do a crossword puzzle, smash the capitalist state, grow eggplants and eat them? What is a woman to do?
And so, goslings, this dress. I don't much care for these particular poems, but I do like the idea, and the blue daisies, as well as the execution. But I'd much rather this frock was covered in Dorothy Parker quips. Or maybe poems from Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. Oh, yeah, Plath's "Daddy" written in a flowing feminine hand, that would be perfect. But as it is, I think this frock would make an excellent wedding dress. Shocking for me to write, I know. Best worn at City Hall for a civil ceremony, I'd pair this dress with blue daisies to be picked up along the way at a deli for $5. Don't spend any money on this nonesense. I can't believe how stupidly people bankrupt themselves over a day's event that is really just a party.
As for myself, goslings, please don't worry:I have no plans to marry. I've still got plenty of fight left in me and Interests to enjoy.


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